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Granted, but what’s being implied and not said outright is that those people are somehow influencing entire organizations of strong-willed career professionals and not just given their own post to say what they want alongside the rest.

I’m asserting the latter is usually what’s happening.

Over the past 100 years there have been many times where North American governments have attempted to rule over the press. That never went well for them (save the inception of Fox News).

OP seemed to suggest the large number of contradictory articles was the result of a larger unified conspiracy. I’m suggesting that is highly unlikely.

For what it’s worth- people don’t get into working for the media because it pays really well. Not usually anyway. So in that way I’d rule out wealth as a primary motivating factor to sacrificing one’s principles in that business.




It seems unlikely to me that there is no coordination between left wing media institutions. They say the same things at the same time using the same language. I don't read much right-wing media.

I'm not saying there's a shadowy conspiracy (though I'm not ruling out people talking about "messaging" via email). It may be that they read each other's stuff and the demands of the 24 hour news cycle dictate that there's a certain amount of cross pollination and regurgitation.

> For what it’s worth- people don’t get into working for the media because it pays really well. Not usually anyway. So in that way I’d rule out wealth as a primary motivating factor to sacrificing one’s principles in that business.

Another perspective on this, courtesy of Noam Chomsky in conversation with a journalist: "I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting here."

> Over the past 100 years there have been many times where North American governments have attempted to rule over the press. That never went well for them (save the inception of Fox News).

I think it's unknown to what degree American intelligence agencies influence the media but I'm willing to bet it's "more than not at all". It may be relatively benign stuff ("Don't use the term 'Islamic terrorism,' Al Qaeda uses that stuff to propagandize") or it may be not so benign.

I agree with the original poster. It's absurd that the left-wing media has been agitating for censorship of "hate" and then complaining when "evidence of war crimes" is deleted. There's been shockingly little mainstream questioning of just how quixotic it is to try to "remove hate".

I'm fairly concerned about the move toward censorship by internet platforms. The only way tech companies can realistically do this is with algorithms. Lots of people seem to think it's a given that these companies can algorithmically remove "hateful things". No one seems to be saying that rules and laws need to have precedent in order to be intelligible. For example, in the US, there are incitement laws but what actually constitutes "incitement of imminent lawless action" is something that has been defined in the courtroom. You can't just say "delete hate" without precisely defining hate. It's a blank check.

I find censorship via algorithms extremely scary. There will be false positives and false negatives and there is absolutely zero recourse. Censorship by algorithms is a perfect expression of bureaucracy. In perfect bureaucracies, responsibilty is spread so thinly that it's impossible to determine who is responsible for a mistake. With algorithms, there's actually no human on the hook at all. Are you going to blame the programmers?

By all means, use machine learning to flag posts so humans can look at them. But automating the removal of content and the banning of human users is a road I strongly suspect we will regret going down. If the volume of content is sufficient so that you need to use algorithms to remove human-generated content then I'd say it's time to reconsider whether that content should be removed at all.


In many cases the censorship is carried out by a 3rd party company setup in a low wage location where someone with their own biases, religious convections and influence of their own society moderates content for the west.

The tech giants don't want anything to do with it because it means employing 1000's of extra people and the costs that go with that. So it just gets contracted out to the the lowest bidder.

It can't all be automated yet, not some machine learning algorithm dreamt up be Facebook is any better of a prospect.

This is the problem with the black box of the multinational corporation deciding what is moral or acceptable with no oversight by the government.


> It can't all be automated yet, not some machine learning algorithm dreamt up be Facebook is any better of a prospect.

Some of it is automated. Youtube removes/demonitizes stuff based on automated checks. I suspect other platforms do this stuff too or are headed in that direction.


Surely they have enough income to hire thousands of US based moderators at a living wage, and moderators for other countries, too.

The relative ethics is the biggest issue, to me.


> It seems unlikely to me that there is no coordination between left wing media institutions. They say the same things at the same time using the same language. I don't read much right-wing media.

> I'm not saying there's a shadowy conspiracy (though I'm not ruling out people talking about "messaging" via email). It may be that they read each other's stuff and the demands of the 24 hour news cycle dictate that there's a certain amount of cross pollination and regurgitation.

There is a difference between being a part of a zeitgeist, and actively conspiring to brainwash people.

The original implication was that a group behind the scenes of large organizations was coordinating them—not that journalists might communicate and share ideas.

They also do regularly read each other's work. Many articles are written in response to others. That is not a new feature in North American press.

> I think it's unknown to what degree American intelligence agencies influence the media but I'm willing to bet it's "more than not at all". It may be relatively benign stuff ("Don't use the term 'Islamic terrorism,' Al Qaeda uses that stuff to propagandize") or it may be not so benign.

That just opens the door for anyone to insert whatever they like, though. That's the sensationalist take I was trying to tone down with my post. It's coming out of thin air.

> I agree with the original poster. It's absurd that the left-wing media has been agitating for censorship of "hate" and then complaining when "evidence of war crimes" is deleted. There's been shockingly little mainstream questioning of just how quixotic it is to try to "remove hate".

Again, to this point, the media/press (and in your words specifically the "left-wing" media) is not a uniform entity and doesn't operate as one. What you're seeing are effects, not causes.

As for the rest—I'm not sure what the solution is yet. It's a tough problem, and definitely a nuanced one. I was only commenting on the conspiracy theories coming out of nowhere on a forum that usually prides itself on empiricism and facts.


"The original implication was that a group behind the scenes of large organizations was coordinating them—not that journalists might communicate and share ideas."

When complaining this is impossible or unlikely, you might want to google the term "Journo-list". It is a thing that is known to have happened, and the idea that one exists again today does not require too much suspension of disbelief, especially since much the same symptoms that made people suspect it at the time are fully visible in the news again. They were absolutely coordinating on stories and doing all the bad things that independent journolists aren't supposed to be doing.


I did look it up because I hadn't heard of that group. Thanks for the reference.

It sounds like there is a larger story to tell about that than "see here is a secret hidden cabal of forces pulling the strings of journalists."

The very Wikipedia article on the subject outlines the active stories outing the list for some of their less-scrupulous conversations in publications like the Atlantic[0].

That sort of goes along with what I had been saying—there is no unified voice. I didn't say there were no bad actors—I clearly stated the press is far from perfect—which includes overzealous rabbling to the point of pressing professional ethics to a breaking point, and making an ugly display of it.

This group also was known to each other—they were not a massive conspiracy pulling the strings behind the outlets from the top-down.

These weren't professionals having their pockets lined to break ethical standards or push pre-decided stories. They were rabble-roused in isolated online communities. If anything, that's the part that sounds familiar now.

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/07/meet-th...


"These weren't professionals having their pockets lined to break ethical standards or push pre-decided stories."

I don't think you have the evidence to come to that conclusion. If they were, how would you know?

Once you find out someone has lied to you in real life about something serious, generally the right answer isn't to slightly adjust down your estimation of the truthfulness. You should generally drop it like a rock, and require a lot of evidence to bring it back up again. I don't mean that politically; I mean that in "real life", as a general life rule. Lies are highly correlated, and it is rational to do this, and indeed, actively irrational not to. (Though many people who are naturally inclined to thinking the best of people have to learn this the hard way, over and over, before getting to this point.)

Similarly, though not identically, you now have strong evidence that what you considered the ethical firewall was breached. You have good reason to suspect that the breach wasn't contained there; what may have started out as putting a toe over the line almost certainly escalated to totally ignoring the line, because in a group that large, that's always how it goes. (Again, general life rule; in groups dedicated to breaking the rules, there's always someone pushing the line just a little bit more than yesterday. Not always the same person, but always someone.)

No, I don't have absolute proof of this... my point is more that you don't have anywhere near proof of your belief that the transgression is limited to just what you know about, and that you have a lot of rational reasons to very strongly suspect that to not be the case. Or, at the very least, I have a lot of rational reason to strongly suspect that is not the case, since I don't consider these people my team or my tribe. Additionally, as I cited earlier, I think that for the same reason people suspected the "journo-list" existed in the first place by watching news stories that something like it exists again today. If this is true, not only has the ethics firewall been breached once again, it means it's been done completely knowingly, at which point any arguments about meaning well go out the window.

(This is all in addition to the general argument that control of the media narrative is literally one of the most valuable things on Earth and I find the idea that literally nobody with any power has ever successfully found a way to manipulate it and it's all just innocent people naively doing their job without a thought as to how it might affect society and that nobody anywhere would even dream of pressuring such people to be such an extraordinary claim as to be absurd. The degree of ethicality on the part of human beings necessary to pull that off strikes me as almost inexpressibly higher than the degree of ethicality that I observe.)


At most I have anecdotal evidence of my work with such people.

As well, if you want to be wealthy that badly you’re better off leaving journalism and doing something else.

I think this rabid kind of speculation is unhealthy. You’re basing your rational on further assumptions.

At the core you seem to assume everyone is so vulnerable that such a situation is more than just plausible, but the most likely reality.

I disagree. So I guess it just boils down to philosophical differences.

For what it’s worth, again, my work has shown me the greatest extent of coordinated government/powers “interference” has been the request for XML copies of published articles. The greatest extent of corporate/financial powers interference has been to cut the legs out from under journalists to maintain margins.

I have no evidence those journalists were coerced into the actions they took outside of the effect of a social media echo chamber. They’re not the only ones.

Add that together and I feel I can make the assumption there is no grand conspiracy otherwise I likely would have seen some traces by now.

This isn’t directly related, but I see far worse coming from corporate executive business management. And they don’t give a damn about the stories.

And you know, I led off with “the press is not perfect”. But it is supposed to be free. Freedom often comes with the tag line that you have take the crunch with the smooth and work through problems.

But coordinated grand conspiracies—no.




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